What is Metabolism? Here’s What You Need to Know
Metabolism refers to a series of chemical reactions that create a living being. Scientifically, it’s a comprehensive term. In general terms, however, metabolism relates to the processes which sustain energy and burn fat in the human body.
Our metabolism is at its highest when we are young. In our adolescence and teens, boys and girls often seem to have stomachs that are bottomless pits, especially if they engage in any reasonable level of physical activity.
Metabolism remains very high during the twenties as well. Around the age of twenty-five, however, metabolism begins a slow, torturous and seemingly inevitable decline.
After twenty-five, you can expect your metabolism to drop somewhere between five and ten percent every decade if you maintain the same level of activity (which most people do not).
In the United States, the average adult loses somewhere between twenty and forty percent of their metabolism over the course of their adult life.
The result of this unfortunate state of affairs is that weight gain occurs far more effortlessly than in your younger years. Also, the muscle-to-fat ratio takes a hit, and extra calories = extra fat.
This was not always the case, but leaving nature to take its course will not result in optimum health…nor will it make you happy when you look in the mirror.
However, it’s Not All Gloom and Doom
The good news? Metabolism is heavily influenced by your lifestyle choices. There are some things that you can do to ratchet up your metabolism and increase your muscle building and fat burning power. Let’s look at a few proven metabolism boosters.
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
A huge factor which will control your overall metabolism is sleep. Numerous studies have concluded that poor sleeping habits and sleeping patterns have a destructive impact on your overall metabolism.
There are reasons for this impact. One is that your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production is directly linked to healthy, deep sleep, and low HGH levels slow down your metabolism.
Next, poor sleeping habits negatively impact metabolism. Why? Because the less sleep you get, the more you tend to eat. One study found that individuals that slept only five hours per night gained two pounds per week, compared to people that slept nine hours, who stayed at a stable weight.
It’s a simple equation. More ZZZZ’s = more weight loss. Who would have thought that dropping pounds and blow-torching fat was as simple as closing your eyes?
Enjoy Green Tea
Green tea is a perfect beverage for people who want to lose weight and increase metabolism. Again, there are a few reasons for this. Green tea is a zero-calorie drink and is a complete guilt-free beverage.
If you feel you need to add sweetener, there are sugar substitutes like Stevia which have no adverse impact on health while also being a good-tasting substitute for sugar.
This beverage is also a formidable choice for dieters because it is loaded with antioxidants, which both can preserve your health at the cellular level while also boosting your metabolism.
Researchers found that antioxidants contained within green tea have a direct positive impact on fat metabolism, and burn energy even when taking into account the caffeine content of the drink.
Researchers also found that healthy males that drank green tea had metabolisms which were around four percent higher than men that did not.
Crank Up the Intensity of Your Workouts
Any exercise will increase your metabolism, whether you are walking, jogging, or lifting weights. However, there are some ways to work out that are more efficient at boosting metabolism than others.
The most effective means to increase metabolism with exercise is a strategy known as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This means that when you’re doing cardio, you should vary the pace by sprinting or other exercises which rely on bursts of energy.
Another reason why exercise is so useful for increasing metabolism is that high-intensity cardio and weight lifting can significantly improve your Human Growth Hormone secretion. Although HGH is released at its highest levels while you are sleeping, the hormone floods your body when you work out intensely.
By doing these exercises, you can kick-start your metabolism both during training and for hours afterward, since HIIT keeps working even when you are done and resting. This sends the weight loss and muscle building potential of your workout routine into high gear.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Although breakfast is no longer considered the most important meal of the day, it is still incredibly essential to your metabolism. Even eating a small breakfast has a positive impact on your overall metabolism through the day.
While you sleep, your body builds up cortisol levels (the so-called “stress hormone, too much of which results in weight gain) until the levels reach a point which wakes you up.
Breakfast is like a reset button on these cortisol levels which energizes you with the calories contained within. It also helps your metabolism to not have a massive meal just before bed.
Your body’s metabolism slows to a crawl while you sleep, and more of the calories you consume is converted into fat. Late night meals also get your hormone balance out of whack and can make it harder to get going in the morning.
Pump Some Iron
Weight lifting is also a powerful way to burn calories immediately. By hitting the weights intensely, with a good, quick pace and short intervals between sets, you can burn as many calories as you would running….maybe even more!
Combining both running and weight lifting provides the most significant benefits to your health because running or other forms of cardiovascular exercise get your blood pumping, and weight lifting burns significant amounts of stored energy.
So get the best of both worlds. Do cardio one day, then weight-lifting the next. They both act synergistically: 1 + 1 = 5
One study found that after drinking a glass of water, metabolism increased around thirty percent in both male and female patients. The increase in metabolism initiated around ten minutes after consumption and metabolism remained enhanced for thirty to forty minutes after drinking.
One exciting outcome of the study was that researchers found that male subjects primarily increased fat metabolism, whereas female patients especially saw an increase in carbohydrate metabolism.
Spice It Up
It’s not a myth. It’s true. Spicy seasonings do have the ability to increase your metabolism. One of the simplest ways to boost your metabolic rate is to add a little cayenne pepper or some other form of spicy seasoning containing Capsaicin.
Studies have shown that adding herbs containing Capsaicin can increase your metabolic rate by around eight percent on average.
Another study showed that males that consumed appetizers which contained hot sauce tended to eat an average of two hundred calories less than men that did not.
Capsaicin is also recognized for having anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as for increasing blood flow and opening up blood vessels.
Also, remember cinnamon. This great-tasting spice can prevent blood sugar spikes, which blocks weight gain and also keeps the metabolism from slowing.
Don’t Forget Regular Cardio
There is an ancient cliché: “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. This applies to doing steady-state cardio as well as HIIT. Long Slow Distance (LSD) cardio can increase metabolism for an extended period.
One clinical study revealed that a forty-five-minute bike ride could increase metabolism over the course of the next twelve hours.
The key is to mix it up and combine High-Intensity Interval Training into your cardiovascular exercise. At regular intervals in your cardio, enter a sprinting speed to engage your anaerobic muscle tissue and squeeze out extra energy burning power.
A healthy exercise routine which combines cardio, HIIT and weight training will produce the maximum level of benefit.
Enjoy That Cup of Coffee GUILT-FREE
In addition to tasting good and increasing your alertness, coffee is highly effective at speeding up your metabolism. Coffee is a highly efficient means to get a jolt of caffeine without downing too many empty calories.
Coffee also delivers caffeine to the body quickly, and metabolism will gradually ramp up to a peak around three hours after consumption.
The caffeine in coffee increases your heart rate, which boosts your calorie-burning power. Coffee also contains a few other natural ingredients which can increase metabolism.
One of them is chlorogenic acid. This chemical has been shown to slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed, thus increasing the energy available to burn.
Coffee also has two other compounds which function very similarly to caffeine: Theophylline and Theobromine.
Keep Smiling and Look for Humor
In recent studies, researchers have started to unlock the mystery of laughter. One reason laughter is healthful is that it is a natural stress reliever. Laughter is a physiological sign that you are at ease and you have your guard down.
Laughter increases metabolism because it both engages the muscles and encourages optimal circulation. It doesn’t take a lot of laughter to produce significant benefits either.
Studies have shown that as little as ten minutes of laughter each day is sufficient to significantly boost your metabolic rate as well as feelings of well-being.
And if you can’t find enough things to deliver that small amount of humor, perhaps you’re looking in the wrong places. Get out to your local comedy club, or watch standup comics on television or YouTube.
After a while, you will naturally see the humor in most day-to-day situations. The more you laugh, the more your body will thank you.
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